Newsletter No. 76

2 No. 76 19th October 1995 CUHK Newsletter Comments form Senior Administration Coping with Success: the F i r s t - y e a r Exper ience From the Director of Student Affairs Gaining admission to a university is generally regarded as a matter of 'success'. Oftentime this success is savoured not only by the students but also by their entire families; both personal and familial aspirations for further success soar. However, once the initial excitement and complacency subsides, the students have to face the challenges of university life. Many then begin to experience confusion and stress, and more are finding it difficult to cope with this newly acquired success. This phenomenon that is becoming more pronounced in recent years needs to be analysed in a broader context. The massive expansion in tertiary education since 1989 has brought about drastic changes in the contents, approaches and expectations of university education. The student population has also become much more diversified in terms of levels of academic preparation, aspirations, motivations, and socio-economic backgrounds. Impending changes in the territory have bred greater apprehension about the job market and keen competition awaiting university students when they graduate. A ll these have contributed to a higher level of stress in different ways. New entrants who are less competitive in their academic abilities may soon find themselves lagging behind their fellow classmates and under tremendous stress. Those who are accustomed to a very programmed and examination-oriented approach in learning may have difficulties adjusting to a more independent and self- initiated learning style. Those who are lacking in social and interpersonal skills may be overwhelmed by the exposure to diverse values, lifestyles, and interpersonal experiences which are more complex than those in their earlier years. Self perception and previously established standards may start to falter. Success seems not as sweet as anticipated; further success is in doubt. A ll freshmen have to face the challenges of adjusting to different aspects of university life and of living up to the role expectations of a university student. Those who manage to cope successfully with such challenges often emerge as more confident, mature, and competent individuals. Those who fail to cope effectively may suffer lasting and debilitating consequences. It is evident that the ability to make a good start and have satisfying experiences in the first year of university will have long- term effects on the student's subsequent development. It is therefore more than justifiable that the Office of Student Affairs should direct increasing efforts towards preventive services that reach out to freshmen who are experiencing psychological stress and adjustment problems. This is done through an annual mental health screening exercise for first year students. Through their responses to a health questionnaire, students with psychosomatic symptoms can be identified, and follow-up interviews and counselling can be immediately arranged. The exercise also enables student counsellors to establish initial contact and rapport with particularly vulnerable students. Equal emphasis is placed on developmental and educational programmes. Workshops and discussion groups addressing issues like university adjustment, self-understanding, interpersonal relationships, and stress-management are held on a regular basis. These provide students with opportunities to understand more about themselves, develop realistic expectations, explore and actualize their potential, improve relationships, and acquire stress- management skills. Such activities also allow participants to experience peer support and realize that it is not they alone who are experiencing disturbance. Through open sharing and the development of trust, a mutual support system can evolve which will enable the students to examine their concerns in proper perspective and learn new skills from one another. This is also the reason why the colleges have been requested to increase their emphasis on the development of peer support and on ounselling programmes through which freshmen can be reassured of the 'normality' and transient nature of many of their adjustment problems. The Office of Student Affairs also periodically organizes seminars and workshops for staff who have frequent and direct contact with students 一 student affairs officers, hostel wardens and tutors, academic advisers, lecturers, and health workers. It is essential that ail are well- acquainted with the supportive services available to students as well as the basic knowledge and skills in the early detection and assistance of students at risk. Ultimately, our major tasks are to help freshmen adjust to their new learning and social environment, to overcome obstacles that block their personal effectiveness, to develop their intellectual and personal potential to the fullest, and to ensure that their university experiences constitute a rewarding and memorable phase of their lives. I can recall the last and most important lesson given me by a university teacher who was also a father figure for me. I was then relentlessly concerned about his opinions of my views and more than eager to convince him of their worth. One day, he told me what I needed to hear most: 'Grace, you are now on your own.' I am confident that we shall be able to say this to the vast majority of our new students very soon. Grace Chow Centralization vs Regionalism in China and Europe B o t h China and Europe are experiencing problems of social and legal integration. In China, market reform has led to an expansion of regional power. Local and regional governments have now taken over powers previously exercised by the central government. However the relation between central and local governments as well as that among local governments themselves have yet to be clarified. Likewise Europe is undergoing a process of integration in which the boundaries of European and national power are being redefined. These and similar issues relating to centralization and regionalism were examined at the Symposium on Centralization and Regionalism: Social and Legal Recomposition in China and Europe jointly organized by the University's Chinese Law Programme and the French Centre on Contemporary China in Hong Kong. Speakers came frommainland China, Europe, North America, and Hong Kong. Discussion was divided into three parts. In the first part, social scientists explored the local impacts of national and regional integration in the Chinese and European contexts. The second part dealt with the legal problems associated with local/central relations. In the third part, constitutional scholars and political scientists discussed how changes in central/local legal relations may have implications for constitutional and political reform. The symposium ran from 22nd to 23rd September at the Cho Yiu Conference Hall. To Promote Research in BA Faculty An intensive workshop on behavioural business research took place from 5th to 7th September on campus. Aound 20 faculty members from the Management, Marketing, and International Business Departments participated in the workshop, which aimed at cultivating a better environment for and raising the standard of research in the Faculty of Business Administration. It is hoped that the discussions will activate greater communication and co-operation between faculty members and guest speakers as well as among faculty members themselves. The workshop featured presentations from members of the Faculty of Business Administration and several renowned American scholars in the business field such as Prof. Michael Hitt from Texas A & M University and Dr. Joseph Cheng from Ohio State University. The third day of the workshop was given to the exchange of ideas on how to conduct research that is conducive to publication in international journals. The workshop has resulted in several potential collaboration projects between guest scholars and faculty members. First Batch of Home-grown Cancer Nurses T h e first batch of 46 graduates from the territory's first integrated hospital-based specialist course in cancer nursing care received their certificates on 30th September at the Prince of Wales Hospital. The one-year part-time course, organized by the University's Department of Clinical Oncology, aims to help nurses face up to the many daily challenges in cancer wards. The majority of the 46 graduates are working in oncology wards or related areas, with experience in cancer nursing ranging from six months to seven years.